Seoul to host a Korean version of CES: Seoul mayor

2024.01.12 12:52:01 | 2024.01.12 13:20:58

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon [Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government]이미지 확대

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon [Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government]

Seoul will host “Seoul Smart Life Week” from October 7th to 9th, 2024, at the Convention and Exhibition Center (COEX) as part of the South Korean capital city’s plans to build an international platform to promote companies with innovative technologies and lead future technology trends.

“We will successfully organize Seoul Smart Life Week and make it our version of CES,” Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of a Seoul Pavilion at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024, the world’s largest consumer electronics and information technology exhibition that opened on the same day in Las Vegas, the United States.

CES brought 81 Seoul-based startups together to open the Seoul Pavilion at Eureka Park.

“I always wondered why we should always follow Davos or CES. It is very hard for startups to come all the way here (to Las Vegas). Travel and accommodation expenses might not be such a burden for well-established companies, but it is not easy for startups that are just starting to afford them,” Oh said. The mayor also noted that businesspeople have expressed their hope that Korea could host its own global MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions.) events as he explained the meaning of organizing Seoul Smart Life Week, saying, “We will show innovative corporate products and services in Seoul, the capital city, leading the innovation ecosystem.”

Oh further explained that ‘Seoul Smart Life Week’ was chosen instead of ‘Smart City’ due to the strengths of Korean businesses, including in beauty and healthcare.

The Seoul city government has set a three-year plan to develop Seoul Smart Life Week into an event showcasing the latest technology and lifestyle trends to city officials and businesses around the world. The goal is to have 100 cities, 100 companies, and 20,000 people participate in the 2024 event, with plans to expand further the following year by doubling the size and linking with other international events.

But it will not be feasible for Seoul to host an event on CES’ scale straightaway as there is a significant difference in the scale of the MICE venues in particular. Las Vegas has 5.3 times more event space compared to Seoul and while 13 percent of visitors in Las Vegas are MICE participants, the percentage is only 6.5 percent in Seoul. Seoul also lacks infrastructure, with the number of hotel rooms available for guests in Seoul only a third of what is available in Las Vegas.

“Seoul has the potential to be a benchmark for the world in smart living, but venues like Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) and COEX are limited in space.” Choi Jae-bung, a professor at Sungkyunkwan University, said.

Seoul’s plan is to rely on the Jamsil Sports MICE Complex, and the city plans to grow Seoul Smart Life Week into an event with more than 100,000 participants by the time the facility is completed in 2031. The complex will include an exhibition and convention center of about 110,000 square meters, or 2.3 times COEX’s size.

By Kwon Oh-kyun and Yoon Yeon-hae

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